CoviDiaries: Easter and my Totem.

Banner design by Z.

It’s still Easter, at least for those of us who follow liturgical calendars. I’ll confess, I’m still stuck on Good Friday as far as my mood. Maybe I’m somewhere between Friday and Saturday.

Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, was incredibly odd this year, with millions attending virch, virtual church, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I was one of them. K, Z, and I sat on our couch and listened as Kiki’s pastor spoke via YouTube. Z and I put on bright colored skirts, while K donned jeans and a tee. No Communion wine, but I did sip a homemade latte with steamed almond milk from an insulated bottle.

Last week was Spring Break from homeschooling. Unlike last year, there was no trip to Brooklyn to see art with Auntie Nicole and her daughter Lai. This year, Nicole is finally in recovery after recovering from pneumonia trigger by the virus. The museum is shuttered. I feel shuttered.

For the second Sunday of Easter, Z and I attended St. Elizazoom, St Elizabeth a local Episcopal church on Zoom. K stayed at his desk working on something, but did listen in for the homily, which was about Thomas demanding to see the nail scars on Jesus’ hands. He needed proof. He wanted a sign. I needed a sign.

After service, I completed a Coursera Postwar Abstract Painting module on Jackson Pollock. I was struck by one of his later paintings, Easter and the Totem.

Easter and the Totem, 1953 by Jackson Pollock. (Google Images)

Pollock’s Easter was most likely in reference to the island, not the Christian holiday, but the bright pink and green signaled the warmth of Spring. It also doesn’t resemble some of his most popular works like Number One, 1950 Lavender Mist, which tend to have layers and layers of thick drips, drops and lines of paint. But it’s that last part of the painting’s title, Totem, that made the painting unforgettable.

The day before I laid eyes on the artwork, I told K how I was feeling anxious about having plasmapheresis on Monday. Due to Covid19, the hospital where I go for treatment has instituted a “No Visitor Policy”, meaning Z would have to stay home. I totally agree with the rule, and it definitely wouldn’t be the first time I’d done the treatment solo. But it would be the first time I’d be getting plasmapheresis while it felt as if the Four Horsemen were about to darken the horizon.

K listened while I explained my worries. “You need a totem,” he replied matter-of-factly. “A totem?” I questioned. “Yes, something to keep you grounded. Something to remind you of reality. Like in Inception.”

“Oooohhh… I have one. It’s Zoe,” I said as I looked over at our daughter. K looked from me to her and then back to me. Before he said anything, I blurted out, “I know, I know, I can’t bring her which is the problem. But maybe if I can just FaceTime with her. She doesn’t even have to talk. If I can just see her… and get a glimpse of you, too.” He smiled.

Waiting to start plasmapheresis.

Yesterday, I arrived at the hospital a couple of minutes after 9AM, and was in my private room, waiting to get going by 9:30. Things did not go smoothly. The medication necessary would be completed and sent over from the in-house pharmacy for another two hours, and then about 25 minutes into the treatment, one side of my double port-a-cath stopped working and needed to be declotted, sucking up another 30 minutes. I wasn’t done until about 3PM.

Z Facetimed me minutes after I got into my room. She stayed on until I was ready to go and her and K came to get me. I didn’t feel fear yesterday, but gratitude, once again, that I get to be her mom. She’s been keeping me grounded since I was pregnant with her.

On the elevator down, I saw a sign saying that nearly 400 people with the coronavirus had been discharged from the hospital, having recovered. At the bottom of the laminated poster was printed, “Here Comes The Sun!” I smiled. Good news and a Beatles’ song. Nice.

While I sat in the near-empty waiting area looking out for K, suddenly I heard The Fab Four singing, “Here comes the sun/ Here comes the sun/ And I say, it’s all right.” I looked up and saw a group of nurses, masks on, walking out. It was shift change, and one began singing along. Another said between laughs, “That means another one is better. Someone else has beat it and is going home!” I smiled behind my mask. That’s why I heard that clip of music. By the time K pulled up, the snippet had played three more times.

“Here comes the sun/ And I say it’s all right…”. I looked through the wall of windows and saw our car. In the back, with a blue butterfly mask on, I saw her, my Little Darling, my totem.

It doesn’t quite feel like Easter, but I know it’s coming.

1 Comment

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Thomas DeFreitasreply
April 21, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Happy Easter, Li.
Odd: as I was reading your post, the sun came out! Yes, at 7 pm, at the tail-end of a raw and rainy day. I stood out on the balcony, and got some fresh (46 degree!) air.
Thank you for being an Easter gift. What is it Gerard Manley Hopkins writes? “Let him easter in us” — it’s a verb!

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